INTERTWINED, a story by Rebecca Aparicio
Hello, my dear friend.
We have never met before but now we will be forever intertwined. Like the branches of the trees around us right now. Slowly we are becoming one and we will never not be one again.
Take this moment to take a deep breath. No really, you should take one long deep inhale. Now exhale. Breathe. If you don’t, the person standing next to you will know that you didn’t do it and that’s embarrassing.
In for——— 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Out for——— 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Now, we are here. Together. In the same space. Transcending time. Transcending boundaries.
My name is Ana Maria Garcia. This grove is my spot. I like to sit right under that tree over there. You see it? On the right? The one with a really big trunk. I sit right there, with my back up against the trunk and gaze up at the leaves. This is my one spot of happiness and peace. I stare up at the leaves and breathe. And count. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
It isn’t quite lady like to sit against this tree. But I don’t care. At times, it feels like the tree is talking to me. She whispers in my ear and tells me it will be okay even when it feels like nothing will ever be okay again.
Have you ever missed something so much that you feel the pain deep in your bones? An ache that can only be cured with your bare feet touching the damp soil of the land of your birth. Unless you’ve ever moved to a foreign land, it’s quite difficult to explain. This pain can take over your whole body, your whole mind—-until it is all you can think about. It can make a person do things…things they would never do before.
You see—-I’ve done something quite bad.
I’m here to figure it out and I need your help. You see, there’s someone who’s out looking for me. I may have taken a very expensive necklace. They said if I return it before 5pm today, nothing will happen. But if I return it—-it could be a trap, and I could be put away for a long time. They love locking women up in New York. What do I do?
I’ve got three options and I need your help:
CHOICE A: Return the Necklace
You must be one of those thrill-seeking goodie-two-shoes.
If you knew why I had to steal that necklace, you wouldn’t send me back there. You don’t know Alice like I know Alice. She’s mixed up with the kind of people you don’t want to cross in New York. The kind that will make you disappear without a trace. The kind with deep pockets in every government official, the kind where the rules don’t apply to her. Why would I cross someone like that?
There aren’t many options for me. When the war ended—they kicked us all out of the factory. So you do what you gotta do to feed yourself. I’ve been working cleaning houses and today, Alice decided not to pay me. It gets pretty complicated, so maybe I should tell you while you start walking through the grove. We’re headed downtown.
It started a few weeks ago. I was cleaning the living room and she came in wearing a pale pink robe. She looked at me with those crystal blue eyes, eyes that stare deep into your soul. One thing led to another and suddenly we were entangled in this affair.
Today, she decided that she didn’t have to pay me anymore. That our affair was payment enough. So I grabbed the emerald necklace on her nightstand and started to run. She yelled after me, saying she would tell her husband about the affair unless I gave her the necklace back. I told her I would, if she paid me. She refused and so I ran as fast as I could out of her house. This afternoon, she sent someone looking for me—I don’t even know how she found me. But someone showed up to the boarding house. Thank God I wasn’t there. Anyway, I gotta get this back—-or else.
I don’t even know why I took it. I’d never done anything like that before. I was just so angry. And hungry. And tired. But this isn’t like me. None of this.
Life is a series of choices that you make. Some better than others. And each choice, leads to another choice, and another choice. And before you know it—you’re on the run.
Oh no, do you see that tall man at the end of the grove? With a permanent scowl on his face? That’s the man that’s looking for me. Oh no, there’s a woman beside him. Could it be Alice?
We have to start running—or should I just stay here and face the facts?
CHOICE B: Bury the Necklace
I can tell you like to avoid confrontation. Bury your feelings. Hide from the world. I get it. Honestly, this is the choice that I was secretly hoping you would pick.
I’m not sure it’s going to solve my little problem, you see—Alice is all tangled up with the mob. The kind that will make you disappear without a trace. The kind with deep pockets in every government official, the kind where the rules don’t apply to her. Why would I cross someone like that?
Speaking of choices, this wasn’t my best one.
We must search for the perfect spot to hide the necklace. You have to look through the grass and find a patch of dirt. A patch that no one would notice has been dug up. So it should be worn in, like a path. Maybe near a tree. But it can’t be a place that people would gravitate towards because that would be too obvious.
Okay—-go find the spot and once you find it and only then—-keep reading.
You found the spot? Thank you, I don’t know how I will ever repay you.
Alice knows that I come to this park. If it’s easy to find, she could use the necklace as evidence to frame me. I don’t know if it counts as framing, since I did commit the crime, but perhaps it is? Do you feel confident that she won’t find this spot? Okay. Good.
I need some help here—-grande ayuda. The kind of help where if you’ve never prayed you still get down on your knees and pray. Because you know you ain’t got any other choice. I used to pray all the time. But it went unanswered for so long that I just stopped. It’s so lonely here. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss my town. I miss my dirt.
Can you pray for me? Can you please sit down, right here in the grass and pray for me? It doesn’t have to be to a God. It can be to the trees, to the sky, to the sun. To whoever, to whatever, I just need positive thoughts. I really need them. Just take a moment—-right now and sit. And think of me. And send me your energy because I need it.
If Alice finds me here——well, I may not make it.
Close your eyes. Count to five. Now open.
Dios mio, it’s Alice! She’s standing right there beyond the trees, in front of us. And there’s a very tall man with her. A scary man. She’s in that black dress and she looks like an angel with the sun glowing behind her. Can she see me? How did she find me?
We have to start running —or should I just stay here and face the facts?
CHOICE C: Ask the Tree What to Do
I knew there was something special about you. I did.
You feel that don’t you? The wisdom in the trees. The whispers that tell us what is true and what is false.
The trees, the soil, the roots hold stories. They hold vibrations. They hold clues for us. I want you to take a moment and scan the grove. Carefully scan the grove until you find yourself drawn to a specific tree. Don’t over think it. Just pick the one that feels like it’s pulling you towards it.
Walk towards the tree. As you walk towards the tree notice the grass beneath your feet. Notice the sound of the wind and the sound of your footsteps. Really be present. I’ll wait while you walk over.
Okay, are you at the tree? You should be standing right in front of the tree within arm’s length. When you are ready, put your hand on the tree. We are watching you—-so you better touch that tree.
What energy is moving through you? Do any images come to mind?
Sometimes, when I’m here by this tree—-I can hear whispers. The voice speaks to me. Sometimes it gives me very clear instruction and sometimes it says: You know what to do. Don’t ask me the questions, Ana Maria. You know—your inner knowing is within.
As your hand is on the tree: What does the tree say? What is it telling you to do?
Do you hear it? I hear the voice—it’s speaking and suddenly, a beautiful sparking orb springs forth from the trees. Is it a fairy? Is it spirit?
Suddenly the sparkling orb begins to take on the color of ash. What was a beautiful sparkling orb of light is now a big dark cloud of smoke. The smoke transforms into two figures. One is the shadow of a man and the other is a shadow of a woman.
What do you do? Do you run away or do you confront the spirits?
CHOICE 1: RUN
Your turn to run. You start running as fast as you can, but you don’t notice the root sticking out from the ground. Suddenly, you fall. You try to pick yourself up as quickly as you can, but something is holding you from being able to stand up. Is it fear? It feels like your body is made of lead. It’s hard to get up. GET UP! We have to keep moving.
Suddenly a burst of energy surges through your body and you’re up. You start running and running. You are passing tree after tree, suddenly everything becomes hazy and you are running faster than you’ve ever run before.
You take a moment to look behind you and they are closing in on you. Please don’t get any closer. In this moment, you start running even faster.
I feel them approaching closer and closer. They’re about to catch up. They can’t catch up. If they do—it’s all over. All the sacrifices I made to be here. The years of work. I’m only 18—-I’m not ready to give up. I’m not ready for this to be it.
You have to run faster! Run, run, run, run! You hear their breath behind you. It’s getting louder and louder. You need to look to see how close they are to you but you’re scared to look because what if it slows you down. Adrenaline kicks in. You are moving faster and faster. You can’t hear their breath so close, so you decide to look. You turn your head and they are a few feet behind you.
“Ana Maria!,” They cry out.
You see the tall man reach into his pocket.
“No! Please, I can give it back. I can give it back,” I say.
Your life quickly flashes before your eyes.
AND THEN FLASH!!
CHOICE 2: FACE THE FACTS
You turn to look at them and face the inevitable.
It is time to accept the choices you have made. To face the consequences. You knew it was a bad idea to get caught up in this affair. You knew how dangerous she was but you didn’t want to listen—to listen to that voice deep inside that said not to go there.
You did it anyway.
And now you have to face the consequences.
So you turn to look at them and they are standing right there. Not moving, staring at you.
You ask: “Is this it?”
And they don’t respond.
You say, “I’m sorry.”
They don’t respond.
You say, “I’m ready to return what you are seeking.”
They say, “No, it’s too late.”
But it’s never too late.
They say, “Yes, it is.”
Your life quickly flashes before your eyes.
AND THEN FLASH!!
And we’re back here. To the same place where we started.
Since that day, I’ve been stuck in this endless loop. I am bound to these trees and bound to this grove. It is here where I used to find myself and it is here where I lost myself. I am now a part of these trees. And now I am here with you.
I have lessons. I have wisdom. Just as the trees have to share with you.
Choices are all we have—make the most of your choices.
In one moment of anger, I had changed the trajectory of the rest of my existence. Forever.
Only you have the power to release me.
I want to be boundless.
I want to be free of boundaries.
I want to exist, here and there. In this land and in the land of my birth.
That is what I seek. I seek it through you.
Go forth and raise me out of the darkness to which I am bound.
You can release me through your actions. Through your kindness. Through the wisdom you share. We are now tied together and when your kindness grows, it will loosen the tethers that keep me bound to this place.
Will you take one small action today, to release me from this grove?
Option A: You can walk up to someone and share this piece of paper with them. Let them read the quote and spread the message that way.
Option B: You can read this quote aloud, for someone else to hear in this grove. In this moment.
Option C: You can take a picture of a tree in this grove for you to always remember our time together. To connect to others, share via Instagram hashtag #treetales
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” - Amelia Earheart
Thank you for sharing your afternoon with me.
With love, Ana Maria